Merchant of Venice Personal Response

After reading the playwright The Merchant of Venice, written by William Shakespear, I felt somewhat broken by my different opinions. William Shakespeare creates conflicting ideas which lead the reader to ponder: is Shylock justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh? I think he is justified.

Shylock is justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh because both parties agreed previously upon the contract. If Antonio was not willing to give Shylock a pound of flesh from wherever he desired then he would not have signed the contract. Antonio knowing the rudeness he exacted on Shylock, would know the type of revenge that Shylock wants.

“I am as like to call thee so again, To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lent it rather to thine enemy, Who if he break, thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty.” (Shakespear, Act 1, Scene 3, Line 125-132).

This quote of Antonio demonstrates how he is fully aware of the consequences and he knows Shylock’s motives. Even though the contract is very harsh, it must be followed because if not, then Venice (where the play takes place) will lose all sense of order, and the Jewish people who already have less power than the Christians, will have no protection.

Shylock was justified to demand a pound of Antonio’s flesh because it was stated in their contract that Antonio knew the consequences of not following the contract. Antonio was willing to risk his “life” for the money to fund Bassanios’ excursion to find a wife. Shylock was mistreated during the trial, as Portia turned the tides against Shylock by specifying a drop of blood must not be shed. However, Shylock should have been allowed to take a pound of flesh because in doing this, it would be a given that blood would be spilled. The bond insinuates that with flesh comes blood and it would be common knowledge for Antonio to be aware of these consequences. Shylock is wrongly convicted of practicing usury because the rates were agreed upon and at the time which the play first took place, people being killed by one another for petty things, was seen as more common.





3 thoughts on “Merchant of Venice Personal Response”

  1. Hi Adam, your argument was developed finely with evidences from Antonio and analysis from Shylock’s point of view. However, it would be better if you consider the other side of the argument as well: Even if Shylock was to take Antonio’s pound of flesh, how will that have changed the overall message/ending of the play? I would love to hear your take on that.

  2. I find it interesting that you decided to focus on one topic (the question of whether or not Shylock was justified in trying to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh). Your analysis is well thought out, and provides facts to back up your claims. I would like to hear more about what you thought about other aspects of the play as well.

  3. Hi Adam I liked the way that you focused on something specifically that you feel very stringy about. You had great evidence to support your point!I like the very specific evidence from the text you chose and your analysis on it. In the beginning of your response you say that you feel somewhat broken by your different opinions.I am a bit confused by what you meant here.

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